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Doctor Who XXXIV(8).7: Kill the Moon

October 4th, 2014 (09:15 pm)

Some very brief thoughts here. I did find it more compelling than last week, but I wonder whether it's the right direction to take.

Also posted at http://sir-guinglain.dreamwidth.org/715301.html.


Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: October 5th, 2014 11:22 am (UTC)

I didn't like it, but was frustrated as it was a couple of drafts away from being really good. I'm always wary of criticising science as (a) my scientific knowledge isn't so great these days anyway and (b) Doctor Who isn't really about that, but this was just silly. The moral dilemma seemed too bizarre to make me care about it. Clara's argument at the end seemed to be based on the fact that the Doctor was treating her like an adult, which seemed unlike her and not the best reason for getting angry with him. There was a silly slo-mo sequence of them running down a burning corridor, which made no sense. I dislike moody teenagers and I have real problems with the Doctor and Clara going for dinner in Nazi Germany.

Other than that, it was fine.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: October 5th, 2014 01:52 pm (UTC)

I didn't feel like the Doctor was treating Clara like an adult; for me, the adult thing to do would have been to participate and explain what he was doing, leaving to do some research with the intention of being back.

The slo-mo was a way of coding Clara and co as heroic - the Doctor, having left, wasn't being.

The Doctor and Clara having dinner in Nazi Germany is indeed taking this revival of the first Doctor's non-intervention policy to extremes. It's also a bad folk memory of that policy, rather as Anthony Ainley's Master came across as a misremembering of Roger Delgado's: in reality the non-interventionism was shown to be undermined from the first story.

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: October 5th, 2014 02:46 pm (UTC)

Sorry, I didn't make it clear. I think it's debatable whether the Doctor actually treated Clara like an adult. But Clara's rant sounded to me like she was complaining that she was being treated like an adult and wanted to be treated like a child e.g. the whole thing about not taking the stabilisers off the bike. As I implied, there are better reasons for criticising his absence.

slo-mo was a way of coding Clara and co as heroic

I know, but it still looked stupid, like a sketch-show parody of an action film. Especially as the base catching fire should be a serious problem that was ignored.

I suppose the bottom line is I have found the various attempts to darken the Doctor's character since the mid-eighties rather silly and pointless and that applies here too. A pity, as Capaldi has real potential.

Posted by: jackfirecat (jackfirecat)
Posted at: October 5th, 2014 06:26 pm (UTC)

I really liked it. The first one in this series I've been able to say that about. It worked for me as a story, with drama, characters developed well-enough previously that Clara's slo-mo moment made perfect dramatic sense, and a big sort-of-SF idea (the moon hatching) behind it. The last element wasn't necessarily done as well as it could have been (space dragon bit lame) in perfect world, but an acceptable infelicity, for me, given the preceding and the ambition.

(Whereas a 'planet-destroyer' that couldn't shoot straight and looked like it was made by Blue Peter; a new power of putting people to sleep and messing with their minds by a touch of fingertips; Coupling scenes, and other things have thrown me out of willing collusion, suspension of disbelief, in earlier episodes.)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: October 5th, 2014 10:59 pm (UTC)

The characterisation was good; almost too good given the way the Doctor is being presented and his betrayal of the trust the audience and Clara have in him. High concept SF idea, yes, but I see why so many people are distressed by the rest of the science in the episode.

Posted by: widsidh (widsidh)
Posted at: October 5th, 2014 09:24 pm (UTC)

I was disappointed - the trailer (& Graham Norton clip) had looked so promising for a potentially intelligent horror, but both the horror elements, the science, and even part of the discussion of the morality were so ludicrous that they distracted from what was good (and occasionally even intelligent) about it.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: October 5th, 2014 11:02 pm (UTC)

Several people have taken away a strong message about abortion from the episode, which I don't think was intended; and Moffat has apparently placed a rebuttal on a friend's Facebook thread, having a go at 'lit crit' interpretations of episodes and the need to see everything as metaphor.

Posted by: Matthew (emperor)
Posted at: October 6th, 2014 08:39 pm (UTC)

I thought it was good drama, but didn't much like it; leaving aside any abortion metaphors.

There was science so bad it broke my suspension of disbelief (the moon-base is vacuum so they have to wear helmets, but the minute the power's on there's suddenly air? Why did no-one comment on cobwebs in a vacuum being odd?). And the Doctor's decision to just leave felt very out of character to me.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: October 6th, 2014 08:50 pm (UTC)

Thing is, a lot of us don't know that's scientifically unsound; though it would be good to get it right.

As for the Doctor's character, it's being stretched this year - he doesn't know who he is or why he has been the person he has been any more, and is learning, slowly and painfully.

Posted by: Matthew (emperor)
Posted at: October 6th, 2014 09:02 pm (UTC)

You see the converse effect later when there's a breach, and air starts rushing out. Given "puncture hole in space-ship, everything goes haywire" is a common trope, I'm surprised the reverse isn't also well-known.